AICC general secretary in-charge of Punjab affairs Harish Rawat and chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh.
AICC general secretary in-charge of Punjab affairs Harish Rawat and chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

Amarinder unquestioned leader of Punjab: Rawat

Asked who will lead the party in the run-up to next year’s Punjab assembly election, the AICC state affairs in-charge said Capt Amarinder Singh is already in command and no one has objected to it.
By Gagandeep Jassowal
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 04:47 PM IST

Punjab Congress affairs in-charge Harish Rawat has said that chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh remains the unquestioned leader of the state.

“Captain Amarinder Singh is already in command in Punjab and no one has objected to it,” Rawat, an All-India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary, said on Friday when asked about who will lead the party in the Punjab assembly elections next year.

Rawat was in Jalandhar to attend a function organised by a media house to help families hit by terrorism. Later, he visited Dera Sachkhand Ballan of the Ravidassia community.

On former state minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who has been consigned to the margins of state politics due to his differences with Amarinder, Rawat said the state unit must involve him in its activities.

Rawat, who is also a former Uttarakhand chief minister, said, “The process of resolution of differences (between Sidhu and the CM) has started. Now, it is up to both of them on when they complete the process.”

He added, “If you keep such a capable person (Sidhu) in the party without any responsibility (whether in the government or the party) then what will people ask us. Responsibility will be given to Sidhu, but with every responsibility, there is some human issue. We have to see how these issues are resolved.”

He added that the setting up a new organisational structure of the party in Punjab had been delayed as he does not want to divert the attention from the farmers’ agitation on the borders of Delhi. “For the new set-up, we have to hold talks with workers. This will divert their attention from farmer protests and it is not the appropriate time,” Rawat said.

On grievances of local Congress leaders with the state bureaucracy, he said Punjab MLAs have more power than MLAs in other states as the CM has delegated more powers, in the interest of governance.

“There were delays in action in important cases such as sacrilege or drugs. The government’s actions have also remained under judicial scrutiny. The government works at the pace of a cricket test match and not T20. If it works like T20, there will be cracks,” he said.

He said that even the common man had now understood that the new farm laws were against them and had started opposing the Narendra Modi government. “The Centre’s use of the NIA to silence farmers is condemnable. It must realise that Punjab is a border state,” Rawat added.

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